Fishing in Central Park!

NY Times Article on Fishing in NYC Parks

As of December 15, 2011 the omition of the fishing ban rules on new signs were back at Turtle Pond and were there for more than a year now. New signs were put up by Doug Blonsky as he went out of his way to prevent any law enforcement of fishing in Central Park.

October 31, 2009:

The old (correct) signs are now back at Turtle Pond...

...accompanied with new bold signs that prohibits fishing at this delicate little animal haven.
Of course I was extremely pleased to see that the NYC Parks & Recreation did the right thing. I was bracing for another vindictive act by the Conservancy, but hopefully we are all evolving and one day even I may learn to exercise softer and gentler ways of dealing with situations like these.

Nevertheless on Saturday morning two fishermen were not deterred from their sport at Turtle Pond even with the new prominent signs.

This is to be expected however and it is clear that the signs are not enough. The Parks Department are obliged to be more vigilant around this area especially after such careless behavior by the CP Conservancy.

Except for a few rare cases I have not encountered any rational fishermen...

who are willing to understand the harm they are causing by their sport.

October 26, 2009:
Please stop Central Park from ruining Turtle Pond! Doug Blonsky, President of the Central Park Conservancy is overstepping his bounds and doing things outside the contract with the NYC Parks & Recreation. The latter agency doesn't really care when it comes to wildlife in danger so nothing is being done.
Fishing is becoming more frequent at Turtle Pond since the CP Conservancy posted new and illegal signs at Turtle Pond a few weeks ago.
Here are fishing rules from NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation: NOTE: The Central Park Reservoir and Turtle Pond are closed to fishing.

This is what Central Park considers fun!

Please call 311 and report this problem. I know it may sound trivial but when these seemingly small problems are not addressed then bigger ones will follow.
Fishing in Turtle Pond is dangerous to not just the beloved turtles in the pond but all the other wild creatures which forage there. Casting is practiced by all people fishing in Central Park. This is dangerous to people standing by and also makes it easier for fishing line to get caught in the nearby trees.

October 27, 2009

A letter from a concerned person:

"Thanks for the alert about the fishing in turtle pond. The turtles are among my most beloved animals, and i was very upset. I haven't been going there since August, so didn't realize this.

Here's the mail I sent to

"I am writing in regard to the new signs installed in Central Park that allow fishing in the Turtle Pond.
Regulations that had been put in place to protect the wild life in the park are being sacrificed more and more, senselessly. It takes long decades for animals such as "red-eared slider" turtles to make themselves home in an environment such as our park. It also takes long and painstaking efforts to lay down regulations that protect them, and the Central Park Conservancy gets rid of these rules as if they were mere obstacles in the way of its business. Remember that without the natural life in the park, there is no business for you, either.

We demand the immediate removal of the illegal signs that permit fishing in the ponds at Central Park, and the restoration of the legal ban against fishing.


It's an easier way of filing complaint than 311--and hopefully more, and not less, effective. how frustrating a whole lotta things in this selfish greedy people's city is...

In solidarity,


Phone Number:
Kevin Jeffreys
Deputy Commissioner,
NYC Park & Recreation
(212) 360-1381

Note: You may likely get to speak to Nicole Moorehead when you call this number. Demand to speak to Mt Jeffreys because Moorehead will talk your head off and may never even get the message to the Deputy Commissioner. In the years that I have dealt with her she has often lied, made false promises, and hardly ever returned my calls.


Fishing, where allowed, should also be monitored by a qualified Parks official at all times since none of these people fishing are ever responsible enough to clean up their damage. The perimeter of the Lake is littered with fishing line which no regular maintenance worker attempts to clean.

This is what NYC Parks & Recreation want to teach children to enjoy!

This is the kind of stuff the Urban Park Rangers puts on their agenda as 'educational activities for children'.

Please stop this cruelty now. Fishing must be banned entirely from all of Central Park.


October 23, 2009:
My entire evening was shattered late Thursday when a man came up to me as I sat near the Delacorte Theater and told me that Central Park is now allowing fishing in Turtle Pond. At first I told him that he was wrong and that Turtle Pond is one of the few places where fishing is prohibited.

The man told me that new signs went up which stated that fishing is allowed once you have a permit ($10/year).
I immediately went over to the pond to read the new sign and that is when my heart sank; he was right.

This is the new sign which was put up by the Central Park Conservancy early in October, 2009. I actually saw the CP Conservancy worker putting this sign up early one morning but I never bothered to read it--I simply thought it was the old sign just redesigned.

Doug Blonsky did it again; after I continually complained about illegal kite flying near the trees on the Great lawn he disregarded the Park’s
rules and put up signs allowing kite flying. Now having complained about illegal fishing at Turtle Pond he went ahead and put up signs to the contrary. On the topic of illegal drug use in Central Park he is in a very tight spot however. It is not easy for him to put up signs inviting illegal drug use and any communication to the NYPD can be recorded and come back to haunt him.
Thus far illegal drug use on the Great Lawn is being enforced seriously until they can find a way to get me out of the picture.

I am more upset since we, (Doug Blonsky and I) had a long chat several weeks ago in which he gave me the impression that he was understanding of the issues which I continually raise especially on behalf of the park‘s animals. But now what could be his reason for taking this horrible step in allowing fishing at the one little haven for some of the park’s wildlife.
Maybe I would understand if there were a bunch of hungry fishermen begging for an opportunity to catch a meal to help their family survive but this is very unnecessary. The fishing ban at Turtle Pond should be upheld.


On Sunday June 22, 2008 two people were fishing in Turtle Pond for almost three hours. Several calls were made to Parks Enforcement (646) 613-1200 but every time you reach someone at this number they either lie and tell you that someone is one the way or they tell you to call '311'. If you have the hour or so to waste on a '311' call you'll discover how useless that route is.
The fact that Central Park encourages fishing and goes so far to pretend to teach children to fish shows the barbaric nature of those people who run the park. Too many times I hear people talk about what fun the 'sport' of fishing is when the fact is it is an act of torture. Especially the type of fishing encouraged in Central Park where you basically hook the poor animals to get some kind of gratification that you are smarter than the hungry creature which you enticed with a morsel of food. What kind of lesson is to be learned by a child from this? Central Park Conservancy and the NYC Parks & Recreation department sees nothing in this. When a child is encouraged to have fun as they watch an innocent animal gasp for water as they are pulled up into the air and they hold up their 'catch' with pride for all their friends around to see.

A Guide to Fishing in Central Park
Catch and Release
• Catch-and-Release means that all fish caught in Central Park’s water bodies must be put back into the water immediately. This is essential to maintain the ecological balance of the water body and prevent algae bloom, and to keep the fish alive. Fishing is prohibited in Turtle Pond.

• Release fish quickly while they are still underwater, if possible. Throwing fish into the water may cause trauma or injure them.
• When a fish is deeply hooked, do not tear out the hook, cut the leader or hook.
• Use hooks without barbs. Barbs injure the fish and can cause infections. Wet your hands before handling fish; this will preserve their protective coating.
• Lead anchors are prohibited. Use stainless steel or other non-toxic metals.

You & Your Family’s Safety

Do not cast your fishing lines; flying hooks can cause serious injuries.

Stay out of the water: Central Park’s water bodies are deep and the mud bottom drops off sharply. For better footing, use the boulders, paths, and steps when you fish.
Help Protect the Environment

• Using paths, boulders, ramps, and steps next to the water also saves the plants and turf.

Excessive trampling of the natural shoreline crushes and kills the grass and causes soil erosion. This creates poor living conditions for fish and other lake dwellers.

• Waterfowl are frequent visitors to the Harlem Meer. Please move to another spot if water birds swim too close to your line.

To prevent birds from getting tangled or hurt, please take all fishing line fragments and hooks with you when you leave, or deposit them with the rest of your litter in containers placed around the Meer.
• Digging in the Park soil for worms is not allowed. Please use bait provided free at the Dana Center.
• Bamboo fishing poles are available free of charge to the public with a valid picture I.D.
• Fishing poles are issued Tuesday–Sunday from 11:00 am–3:00 pm at The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, on the north shore of the Harlem Meer at 110th Street near Fifth Avenue. • Bait –corn kernels –is free with the poles. • Group leaders must contact the Dana Discovery Center at least two weeks in advance to reserve poles. A maximum of 20 poles is issued per group. Please call 212-860-1370 for reservations. And Don’t Forget . . .
Return your poles to Dana Discovery Center staff in the same condition as they were given to you. Untangle fishing line and secure hooks. Thank you!
If you observe wildlife in trouble, or wish to report a Park-related problem, please call the 24-hour Park Hotline 311 for assistance.
Largemouth Bass, Pumpkinseed, sunfish, Carp, Golden Shiner, Bluegill, Sunfish, Chain Pickerel